Single dad facing heartbreak
28 November 2018 at 6:04 pm #18271
Hi everyone, I’m new to the forum and looking for some reassurance or advice.
Without going into too much detail to protect those involved I have a daughter who lives with me during school time to attend school in the area. Every Friday I have to drive for at least 3 hours to take her to a ‘half-way’ point so she can spend the weekend with her mum. I have to do the drive again every Sunday to pick her up so she can attend school on Monday.
I have had this situation for about 2 and a half years now and ended up in court trying to maintain it (her mum wanted her to move to hers and change school but she had already done that 3 times and I wanted her to have some stability).
She was behind her peers when she came to me and couldn’t ride a bike. I got her up to speed to the point where she passed her SATS with flying colours, taught her to ride and got her into a good local school. I did all this whilst my mother died of cancer (we were extremely close and lived with her) and my father deteriorated into Alzheimers. The living situation got impossible with my father due to the confusion caused by his illness so I have also recently moved us out and established us in a new home.
I have had quite an active involvement in hobbies that occupy evenings and weekends and I’ve tried to get my daughter involved but she hasn’t really connected with them – even though she says she would like to. I’ve therefore given up these hobbies in order to give my daughter more time with me.
Now – just recently – I have been told by the mother that my daughter is unhappy and wants to move back to living with her mum and only seeing me on the odd weekend or holiday. I feel like the efforts of the past few years have been for nothing and that I have no real support in what I’ve been trying to achieve e for my daughter. I have been she is frightened of my temper and that she wants a different school environment – she also wants to be with he baby sister that her mum has just had.
I’m not sure how to proceed – the court order says she is to be with me during the school days and I feel that with the right support from both sides this situation should be working for my daughter but I don’t think I’m getting it. The drive every weekend is excruciating and costly. I want my daughter to be happy, I don’t want to force her into a life she can’t stand but she cuddles me and seems to be enjoying herself in most areas of her life. I’m just very confused and frightened of losing her.
Just so you know – most of this has come from her mother as my daughter says she doesn’t really want to talk to me about it.
Any advice or encouragement would be most welcome.28 November 2018 at 7:31 pm #18277
I have sent you a PM28 November 2018 at 9:27 pm #18279
I’m sorry to read your post. What an incredible amount of stress you are all going through. I echo what solo mum says about giving your daughter access to someone else to talk to. It must be incredibly difficult for a child when she loves both parents, always in the middle and not wanting to hurt either Mum or Dad. Check with her school whether they have someone trained to help her and if they don’t they may be able to point you in the right direction. It’s not just the effects of separated parents, she may also be grieving the death of her Grandmother and imagine how scary Alzheimers is to her too and a house move is never plain sailing. She has had a lot to go through in a short space of time and at an age where she is developing into a young woman (I’m guessing she’s 11 or over and that can be a challenging time under any circumstances).
Never ever think that the time and effort you have put in amounts to nothing. It is everything. It’s what we do and whatever happens in the future she will remember it.
Until you have a clearer idea of what is going on in her head I wouldn’t make any plans to change anything but keep reiterating to her that you love her and whatever she needs you will support her, even if its something you don’t want and that no matter what, you will always be there for her.
In the meantime what can you do during the week with her thats something that she wants to do too? Does she have good friendships at her new school? Can you invite her friends over – not called play dates at that age are they? I have a 10 year old who corrects me if I say playdate! Ignoring the academic side moving schools three times must have had an impact on her friendships, bless her.
I’m sure that you are doing these things anyway but you have been through a lot too and it helps if you introduce some fun activities for escapism. We do ‘jumping’, never thought I would enjoy trampolining but its such a giggle with the kids and something that you can fit in on a school night.
Best of luck and don’t forget there is always support on this forum.
Nicole29 November 2018 at 10:22 pm #18321
Thanks for the warm support guys